Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Promised Pizza.

Doesn't it seem like I always start blogs with some sort of lame excuse for being absent in the blogging world?  Well, I hope you're ready for another one.  This might get a bit lengthy so grab a cup of coffee or something and stick with me.

I finally finished up my Sophomore year of college.  I don't know if I should be happy that those two years are over or upset that I still have two more to go.  Oh well.  After my last final, I started packing up and getting ready to head back to the great state of Missouri for a little visit.  My flight was at 7am so I set the alarm for 5 and drifted off to sleep.  When I woke up I realized it was a bit too bright out for 5am.  I quickly realized something wasn't right.  It was 8:40 and I had missed my flight.  My phone turned off in the middle of the night and my alarms didn't go off.  Yes mom, you were right I shouldn't rely on a phone to wake me up.  So Kaston rushed me over to the airport and I went to the counter pathetically sobbing.  The ladies at the counter apparently had a bit more empathy in their hearts than most AirTran employees, so they switched my flight to the next morning free of charge.  Whew.  Needless to say, I immediately bought an alarm clock upon leaving the airport.  After I had calmed down and purchased an alarm Kaston and I went to grab a quick lunch.  Our tummies were full and everything was great until a couple of hours later.  I will spare details but, I ended up with food poisoning or something like it.  Pretty good day so far, right?  Bad things obviously come in threes so don't you worry there is one more.  The next morning I weakly pulled myself out of bed and headed to the airport.  I finally made it to Branson but with an ominous feeling about my luggage (which was supposed to be carry on but got checked at the gate because the plane was too full).  I patiently watched all of the other bags roll by and then the carousel stopped and everyone left.  Great.  They found my bag still sitting in Atlanta and promised they would deliver it as soon as it arrived.  I think it's safe to say the trip got off to a bit of a rocky start.
The girls of Excellence.  I miss them.
Rocky start or not the next week was a blast.  I had an entire weekend in Columbia to visit friends and relive a few days at Mizzou.  The trip was a surprise for Ms. Roweton, so there was quite the kodak moment when she was tricked into coming outside while I stood there waiting.  And then she jumped on me.  Sounds like a fairytale doesn't it?  She was knee deep in finals so I'm incredibly thankful that she threw all of that aside to spend a few days with me.  And of course Trever deserves a little recognition.  He took me in when Kaitlin had to be responsible.  It was a great weekend and I'm so glad I got to see all of the people I essentially abandoned for Boston.

After Mizzou I headed back to Ozark to celebrate a few birthdays, see friends and family, and of course eat some food that I have missed so dearly.
First things first.  A lovely day at the lake with Tess, Tay, and Ryan.  So bittersweet.  Felt just like every other summer.
Then birthday lunch with Kaston's momma.  Her 22nd birthday I do believe.
And then straight to birthday dinner at Metropolitan Grill with my beautiful sister :)
Of course I had the Seafood Paella.  My taste buds were haaaapy.
Then I allotted time to love on my sweet cross eyed kitty.  Precious Abby.
Back to my second home.  Spring Creek Tea Room.  There were many hugs and a little bit of catching up before they whipped up my favorite lunch in Missouri.
And of course I had cake.  Brenda's chocolate butterscotch oh how I miss you.
And then I had to say goodbye.  See you in August.  Apparently I didn't take any pictures with my daddy.  Fail.
That was a bit excessive eh?  But it was such a great trip home and I had to share.  I promise you will get a recipe....if you stick with me for just a bit longer.  I arrived back in Boston just in time to attend a My Politic show.  Other than the fact that they are pretty awesome (and now have a fiddler), they are talented and need some recognition.  So watch their video.  And love it.
Aren't they great?  Go follow them on facebook, myspace, and twitter!  Oh yes, they have a twitter now. #theyactliketheyhateitbuttheysecretlyloveit.

Ready for pizza?  I know I promised this recipe forever ago, but I didn't exactly specify a here it finally is!

Pizza Crust-
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 cups Warm Water
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cups Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Fig Spread or Jam
Salt to Taste
1/2 chopped Red Onion
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
12 ounces Fresh Mozzarella, sliced thin
6 ounces, Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
1 bunch Arugula
Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
1/2 cups Shaved Parmesan

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt.
With mixer on low speed, drizzle olive oil until combined with flour.
Next, pour in water/yeast mixture and mix until combined.
Crust: Check!  Coat a bowl with olive oil, cover tightly with plastic wrap and throw it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
Chop up half of the onion.
In a skillet combine onion, brown sugar, and...
Balsamic Vinegar.  Saute until onions are soft and set aside.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Then grab 1/3 of the dough and roll out as thinly as possible.  Place on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. (You will have some leftover dough to make more pizza!)
Fig Spread!
Spread fig jam all over surface of the dough.  Sprinkle again with salt.
Toss on the balsamic and brown sugar onions.
Cover with sliced mozzarella.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
Immediately top with prosciutto.
Just before serving top with arugula and Parmesan.
Cut into wedges or squares.
Feed to patiently waiting hungry boy.
There you have it.  Adventures from Missouri topped with a yummy pizza.

We are heading to IRELAND (please say that with an Irish accent) on Monday so stay tuned for those adventures!  I will try to post while we are there but I can't promise anything of course.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Pie. Oh my.

Three finals, two presentations, one paper down, two finals to go.  I can do this, right?  I've been telling myself that for weeks and finally I'm starting to believe it's true.  To ensure that my brain wasn't going to burn up from overuse, I decided I needed to take a little break from studying to make some yummy food and enjoy it with a few friends.

A couple of nights ago I made a trip down the street to the cutest store in the North End, Shake the Tree, for their monthly party.  Once a month they stay open late while serving drinks, some sort of food, and usually have work by a local designer or jewelery maker.  They have all sorts of wonderful gifts, home decor, clothes, and so on.  Every time I drop in I end up flipping through their cookbooks.  Which all look so delicious.  So I finally decided it was time to buy one.  I asked the owner what her favorite was, and she suggested Flour.  It is from the owner of a local bakery in Boston, called not surprisingly, Flour.  I had actually visited the bakery for the first time about a week ago and it was delicious.  I decided it was fate and bought it.

As soon as I got home I started flipping through it trying to narrow down the choices of what to make.  And for possibly the first time in my life I was able to make a quick decision about food.  Blueberry lemon pie.  Warm pie with blueberries, lemon and ice cream?  Mhmm.  To go along with the pie, we also decided to grill burgers (On our newly bought grill that is sitting outside on our tiny window box.  I'm sure our landlord would be thrilled.  Oops.) as well as Kaston's moms famous potato salad.  Burgers, potato salad, and pie?  I felt like I was back home.

Let's get back to that pie.  I followed the recipe exactly, which is incredibly surprising, but she was very precise so I thought it might be a good idea to do what she said.  I think she knows her stuff.  Here we go.


For crust- Just a little note on the crust.  I followed her recipe and it was a bit time consuming, so feel free to use whatever crust recipe you would like!
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk

For pie-
1 crust
6 cups blueberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1-2 lemons
1 egg, lightly beaten

Let's start with that crust.
Gather those ingredients.
Cut butter into about 12 pieces.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter in mixer.  Mix for about 1-2 minutes or until lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.
Combine eggs and milk in a small bowl.
Add egg mixture to flour mixture.
This is what should happen.
This is what she called "Going down the mountain".  Gather the dough in a ball, starting at the top slide your palm down and out.  Do this until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough.  Do this once or twice.
Flatten out, wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for a couple of hours.
After a few hours, grab about 2/3 of the dough and set the rest aside.
Roll dough into a roundish shape.  About 1/8 inch thick.  One of these days I will be able to actually roll dough into a beautiful circle...One of these days.
Now for blind baking.  Place dough in pie pan, leaving about 1/4 inch hanging over.  Line with wax paper and fill with beans or rice.  This keeps the dough from puffing up while baking.  Place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 
While the crust is baking grab 2 cups of the blueberries, the cornstarch, sugar, and salt.
Combine in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Leave over heat until it looks like this.
Remove from heat and add lemon zest and the rest of the blueberries.
Remove crust from oven, get rid of beans and wax paper.
Put filling in pie crust.
Roll out remainder of dough and cover the pie.  Cut a small X in the center and brush generously with the beaten egg.
Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until the top is golden brown.
Look at that goo.
If you can resist, let it sit for a while to let blueberries set up.
There he is.  The grill master.  Grilling out of our window.  Champion.
Mmmm burgers.
Nick patiently waiting to be fed.
Ooh la la.
Warm. Blueberry. Lemon. Pie. Ice cream.

Digging in.
The end.
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